Doesn’t get simpler than this, plain white bread.
This will make two decent sized loaves. I make two at a time because it’s no more work than making one and it saves on yeast.
- 1000g strong white flour
- 7g (one packet) fast action yeast
- 15g / 1 teaspoon salt
- 20g / 2 teaspoons sugar
- 600ml warm water
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl, adding the water last. Keep the yeast and salt apart.
- Bring the ingredients together in the bowl with one hand. When roughly together tip out on a flat surface. Put the bowl to one side.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes and put back in the bowl. If you don’t want a skin to form on the bread cover the bowl. If you going to warm the bread during the rising make sure the covering won’t burn.
- Rise the bread for 50 minutes at 40oC.
- Knocked the dough back, don’t be too rough but it needs a decent kneading.
- Rise the bread for 50 minutes at 40oC. At the 40 minute mark turn the oven onto 200oC.
- Bake for 33 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Our microwave is a combination microwave and oven it has a bread rising setting which is great, if you don’t have such a feature check your main oven. Failing that bread will rise without warming but it can take a long time if you’re room isn’t warm and you’ll certainly need to cover the dough. You’re looking for roughly doubling in size.
The second rise of 50 minutes is maybe a little longer than it needs. If you’re getting too many large bubbles cut it down to 40 minutes. Good bread is quite sensitive to the amount of water added. More water creates a lighter finished texture but at the risk of developing more large bubbles.
Make sure you pre-heat the oven. The last thing you want is the floppy fully risen dough waiting around for the oven to warm up. With the back you are looking for a good golden brown top to ensure that the inside of the bread is fully done. Don’t cut bread straight out of the oven, you’ll crush the internal structure and make it dough like.
Finally, you can’t realistically make shop style, super soft long life, bread at home. Shop bread uses the Chorleywood process which requires very powerful mixers – so powerful in fact the dough often needs cooling as it’s being mixed! The process is out of reach of home bakers and I’m inclined to say that’s a good thing. Home made bread has a better flavour and texture anyway.